August 1, 2006
By Ritesh Gupta
Coined as the first sci-fi project to be produced in India, Koiâ€¦Mil Gaya (2003) opened a new era in Indian movie industry. Inspired by the film E.T, the Extra-Terrestrial, the blockbuster movieâ€™s plot revolved on a mentally challenged boy, who is bestowed with powers by an alien. Determined to double the feat, Filmkraft Productions (India) Pvt Ltd, producer of Koiâ€¦Mil Gaya has unleashed a sequel entitled, Krrish. The technology heavy movie is set to be the first indigenous superhero movie in India, hence it will feature Indian movie star, Hrithik Roshan, who also played lead role in Koiâ€¦Mil Gaya. â€œIf Koiâ€¦Mi l Gaya has the distinction of being the first sci-fi movie in India, then its much awaited sequel, Krrish will be the first Indian superhero movie,â€Â says Rakesh Roshan, producer and director of both Krrish and Koiâ€¦Mil Gaya. The movie entwines the best of Western technology and Eastern medley. It is about Krishna, a man born with magical powers, which he got as a legacy from his father – the mentally challenged boy in Koiâ€¦Mi l Gaya. The superhero goes to Singapore with his love interest, Priya. In Singapore, Krishna encounters a megalomaniac scientist Dr. Siddhant Arya (Naseeruddin Shah) who dreams of becoming God. Krishna is then ushered to transform into a masked crusader Krrish to stop Dr. Arya from his destructive dreams. Due to the movieâ€™s futuristic concept and its character bestowed with super powers, the film had to be enhanced with VFX (visual effects). Hollywoodâ€™s formidable visual effects duo, Marc Kobe and Craig Mumma worked with a team of more than 100 VFX specialists in Prasad EFX to come up with stunning and technically VFX sequences. Mumma and Kobeâ€™s works include Independenc e Day, Godzilla, Swordfish, Deep Blue Sea, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. â€œThey (Mumma and Kobe) flew down to Mumbai to look at many facilities and found that Prasad EFX in Chennai is the best and they can deliver anything. I went by their conviction and thatâ€™s how EFX was chosen, â€œ says Rakesh. One of the largest digital postproduction studios in India, Prasad EFX of the Prasad Group, features state-of-the art equipment and a dedicated team of professionals enabling unlimited creative freedom. Their services include skin tone enhancements, selective defocusing, selective area color control, isolation and control of individual colors, scene-to-scene color matching, enhancing sky colors, adding highlights, creating vignettes and so on. In this film, Prasad EFX executed more than 1,400 VFX shots. K. Himakumar, Senior Line Producer of Prasad EFX added that the studio has executed sophisticated 3D models and animation, including whole body scans. Innumerable 3D replicas of different vehicles were created and animated to match live action footage. â€œFire sequences are always a challenge and we have used it to great effect in Krrish. Very complicated wire removals and compositing work were minutely executed, so were critical Special effects that add intensity to images and action shots. A whole futuristic set was designed and implemented by the team at Prasad EFX in 3D,â€Â expounds Himakumar. Furthermore, Himakumar admitted that the team had never done a VFX project of such magnitude before. â€œThis film has a host of different visual effects, most never attempted by the Indian VFX fraternity. It was a huge challenge to conceive and create visual effects with not much of reference or structure.” â€œIt gave us the opportunity to really plan and work on project and quality management. The director also realized the importance of giving time for postproduction. Krrish required about 750 prints since it is the first time a Hindi film is simultaneously releasing (films) in dubbed versions of Tamil and Telugu,â€Â added Himakumar. According to Himakumar, Kobe and Mummaâ€™s experience with Prasad EFX enabled the VFX team to work out every shot to perfection knowing very well what they can be done later in their studio. VFX supervisors were also on location to understand and coordinate the shots. Apart from the visual effects, the film would have some mind blowing act ion sequences. Rakesh chose to work with Hong Kong cinemaâ€™s action master Tony Ching Siu-Tung to train Hrithik for the cable work. â€œItâ€™s not at all easy, â€œ explains Rakesh. â€œ You have to know how and when to move, while hanging from cables. Luckily, Hrithik was a keen student and even Tony was surprised when he mastered the art in a matter of 35-40 daysâ€¦â€Â According to Mumma, the toughest shot was the one in which Hrithik jumps through a truck cabin and its trailer with the camera following him. Very tricky since Hrithik did it on his own, so they shot the truck cabin with Hrithik going through as planned with a camera behind him and later added the trailer in the studio at EFX. Rajiv Raghunathan, Senior Line Producer, DI, EFX, added, â€œAny film with as much visual effects as Krrish, would face a big challenge during Digital Intermediate process (DI). The DI commenced much before the visual effects were completed. Hence, when the visual effects were later inserted in the timeline, occasionally a need to re-grade the sequence did arise. Also, the film was shot in different locales, high altitudes, and tough lighting conditions. However organized the production crew was, it was not easy to control the ambient light. Maintaining a level of consistency and at the same time creating a glossy product was the highlight of DI for Krrish.